Yorkshire Division Four Premier: Wibsey 34 Hessle 19

WIBSEY have been promoted as Yorkshire Division Four Premier champions, but their former hooker Ian Gregson says that greater strength in depth will be crucial to their immediate future.

Gregson, who is also a former coach of the Northfield Road club, said: “What Wibsey need to do now is concentrate on getting a second team out so that they have a squad of players.

“You don’t just need 40 players for that. You need 50 or 60 because there is a big turnaround in the second team and you need to cope with injuries. That is the way forward.”

Gregson has watched many of his club’s matches this campaign, and said: “It has been a lot better season than for a number of years.

“It was a fresh start at the beginning of the season when they got Andy Robinson as coach and brought one or two players in.

“We started well and there were a couple of times when we didn’t play to our potential but we have been pretty good.

“It is nice that we have gone up and it is nice that we will play better opposition, but it will be a test and we will probably need to recruit two or three players.

“Hopefully if we can keep the nucleus that they have had this season and bring one or two in we will be okay.

“I am not saying that we will go up again but we should be okay for the next campaign.”

Visitors Hessle were understrength but caused Wibsey plenty of problems and led 7-0 and 19-14, and Gregson confessed: “It was not an ideal way to finish but credit to Hessle for coming across and giving us a game.

“Wibsey have been in that position a few times over the years so I empathise with their situation, but it was not a bad game and we got a bonus-point win.

“However, Wibsey bombed a few chances when a pass went to the floor, and there was no real reason for that because they were perfect conditions, but we finished the season promoted and promoted as champions.”

Ossett ran Wibsey close and were also promoted as runners-up, two points adrift.

Gregson said: “Ossett are a good side, a well-drilled side and they will be a force to be reckoned with next season as well, but it was nice to go over there and beat them.

“Wibsey just had one or two players in key positions who were slightly better, and those lads had good games on those days, and that is what you want.

“You want your big players to step up when it matters, and Kyle Carter and Andy Robinson had great games over there, and we also beat them in the Yorkshire Vase, so we beat them three times and they are just behind us.

“We now have Wensleydale at home in the Yorkshire Vase quarter-final, which has been pencilled in for Easter Saturday (April 20), and that will be very interesting and a good test as they are top of Yorkshire Three.

“It is good that we have some potential derby matches and we want Baildon to stay up as we are looking forward to playing them.”

Hessle took the lead with a try on the left by Adam Craven in the eighth minute, converted by Jack Donkin, but Wibsey were quick to respond with a try by full back Brad Wright two minutes later, which was improved by centre Robson Moore.

Carter’s try on the right in the 15th minute was superbly converted by Moore but Donkin’s try and conversion levelled matters three minutes later, and the visitors went ahead via a try by prop Stuart Crooks in the 29th minute.

Wibsey were guilty of playing too fast and loose but they made it 19-19 by half-time thanks to Carter’s second try.

Centre Aiden Batey profited by a wonderful sleight of hand by lock Elliott Cousins to go over two minutes into the second period to clinch the four-try bonus point, but Wibsey were not truly able to relax until Moore scored their next try on the hour.

Wright then became the latest home player to blow a try opportunity but Robinson added to Wibsey’s lead 11 minutes from time, finishing off the move of the match, though the game was then ended early as fly half Luke Helliwell had suffered a neck injury in the build-up, which he later recovered from.